Saturday, June 27, 2009

Stanford Gets Bail, But After Jumpsuit Walk

Who gets bail and who remains in jail has been interesting to watch. The question is not limited to one stage of the criminal process, as the issue arises 1) upon indictment and arrest, 2) after a guilty finding at trial, 3) after sentencing, and 4) after an initial appellate ruling.  

The first stage - upon indictment and arrest - is often one of the easier ones for obtaining release as there is no conviction and being charged with a white collar crime, there is little chance of the accused using violence to harm others. In this stage Madoff, Snipes, Lay, and most other white collar individuals were released pending their trial.   So it is not surprising to see that R. Allen Stanford is being given bail pending his trial. 

So knowing the likelihood of bail, is it really proper for the government to parade Stanford in a jumpsuit in front of the media. Check out the picture with this article:Mauricio Guerrero, NYTimes, Stanford Enters Plea; Bail Is Set at $500,000  It's all well and good if Stanford is found guilty.  But if he is not convicted - the picture of the escorted man in an orange jumpsuit will forever remain. The problem here is not the press.  The problem is the government's misuse of its power to taint an individual who has not been proved guilty.

(esp)

June 27, 2009 in Fraud, Prosecutions | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Madoff

The talk of the town is Madoff, assuming one is limited to discussions in the white collar area.  With some comparisons and non-comparisons to Stanford, (see here) and others looking at Skilling's case. (See Business Week here). The sentencing is set for Monday, and the latest is that Bernie Madoff will be allowed to appear in civilian garb. (See here)

Not surprisingly, defense counsel for Madoff filed a sentencing memo asking for 12 years, a number that some victims are not happy with. Will the sentence be higher because cooperation has not reached a level of assisting the government in providing information (if it exists) on others close to him? See David Glovin & Thom Weidlich, Madoff’s Failure to Name Accomplices Cripples His Leniency Bid

Or maybe it will be higher than the amount requested by defense counsel, for the reason that the fraud involved here is not what is seen in many white collar cases. In white collar cases, especially ones coming from the corporate sector, we often see the accused arguing that he or she did not know the conduct was illegal.  Some will argue that admitting the wrongdoing and accepting responsibility should be credited as the Sentencing Guidelines advise.  Others, however, may wonder if this is the perfect example of a case that demonstrates why one should not be penalized for going to trial. Maybe it is easy to say one is guilty when they are the sole person who committed the crime.  But when the acts of others are involved, or the crime involves ambiguous business conduct, it becomes more questionable. So, the real question here is not whether Bermie Madoff should receive 12 years, but whether this sentence is proportionate to others who went to prison for longer amounts of time for conduct they believed was not illegal or for which they should not be held accountable.  It is normally the government that argues that the lesser sentence should go to the one who pleads and cooperates.  But will the government really take that position when the case involves Bernie Madoff? 

Madoff''s Sentencing Memo - Download US_v_Madoff_Sentencing_Letter_June_23_2009 ( w/ a hat tip to Peter Henning)

(esp) (blogging from Tuscon, Arizona)

June 25, 2009 in Fraud, Sentencing | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

In the News & Around the Blogosphere

Angela Delli Santi, phillyburbs.com (AP), Christie to testify on monitor deals

Sam Wood, Philadelphia Inquirer, Shakeup in roster at U.S. Attorney's Office

DOJ Press Release, Two Military Officials Plead Guilty to Bribery, Fraud and Conspiracy Related to Defense Contracts in Afghanistan

(esp) (blogging from Atlanta airport)

June 21, 2009 in News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)